Tour guides fight back with proposal to party candidates
published : 12 May 2023 at 06:15
newspaper section: Business
writer: Molpasorn Shoowong
Tour guides have submitted a proposal to prime ministerial candidates of several political parties in a bid to eliminate illegal tour guides and nominee businesses.
They also anticipate the newly proposed Tourist Guide Act will improve the scope of the profession, leading to more job opportunities.
Representatives of the Professional Tourist Guides Association of Thailand yesterday visited the offices of political parties to submit a proposal to prime ministerial candidates seeking clarity on policies related to tour guides.
Starting with Pheu Thai Party in the morning, Paisarn Suethanuwong, a committee member of the association, said the tourism industry has gained fewer benefits than it should because many foreign businesses and tour guides are returning to the country.
Major political parties have not paid attention to this profession as most of them focus on developing tourist attractions, he said.
Mr Paisarn said there are almost 60,000 licensed tour guides, down from more than 70,000 in 2019, partly because some were uneasy about rejoining the industry, while others didn't renew their licences.
He said some people claim foreign tour guides are flooding the industry because there is a shortage of workers, but Mr Paisarn insisted the number of English- and Mandarin-speaking tour guides is sufficient to accommodate growing markets, with an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 English-speaking guides and at least 10,000 Mandarin-speaking guides.
A shortage does exist with other languages, he acknowledged, such as Polish, Russian and Korean.
Mr Paisarn recommended solutions to solve this issue rather than allowing illegal foreign tour guides to work here. These options include hiring English-speaking local guides to assist foreign tour leaders.
For the long term, he called for policies to help the younger generation pursue a career in the profession.
Mr Paisarn said such initiatives would be facilitated by the Tourist Guide Council, the new body that was proposed in the draft of the Tourist Guide Act.
The council would have the authority to take part in drafting regulations, take action against unlawful activities by cancelling tour guide licences and investigating illegal tour guides, and negotiating for better welfare and wages for workers.
The council could also issue tour guide diplomas as well as propose amendments to inefficient regulations, such as tour guide dress codes and a minimum tour guide numbers per group.
- illegal tour guides